Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Preview of our super-fast Robot Web-based GUI Toolkit

Last year Vectioneer developed and deployed a brand-new control framework for a high-performance robotic system. The user interface for this project was developed in Python 3.0 using pyside. This was great for getting results fast (within our customer’s deadline) and end up with a usable Touch-screen User Interface. However, this was just the first step…

Now we are implementing the first round of major feature improvements. One of which is to move to a High-Performance Web-based GUI, that allows to connect to the control system from any device. We are using the latest communication technologies to update data in the browser at blazing fast speeds to be able to view control system data in real-time. Below you will find a quick preview of what we are working on.

Vectioneer Web-based Control System GUI Widgets – test from Vectioneer on Vimeo.


Meet our new product: Control Loading System Linkage for a Helicopter Flight Simulator

We have recently developed, maufactured and delivered Control Loading System (CLS) Linkages for use in a Helicopter Flight Simulator. The linkages have been designed to meet specific needs of the customer, to mimic the functionality and the looks of the original Helicopter Linkages. They are stiff and light-weight and designed for a maximum Push-Pull load of 4 kN.

Vectioneer Control Loading Linkage

Control Loading System Linkages in a Flight Simulator are used to link the Pilot Controls, like Sticks and Pedals to the Control Loading Actuators, that simulate the control forces generated by the Aircraft Dynamics. The mechanism in general is very complex with multiple push-pull rods interconnected through levers and cranks.

The linkages can be produced with any type of Metric, UN or exotic Threaded Connections, Male or Female, to interface to the original controls mechanisms.
The standard Linkages are produced from high-tensile strength aluminium, but optionally carbon-fiber tubing can be used to save even more weight. This is made possible due to the special glueing technique that we have developed and tested. We have used the testing facilities at our Campus location of the RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, to test the design and the manufacturing procedure. The maximum tensile strength actually could not been determined, because the bolts that we used to hook the rods into the test-bench yielded before any part of the linkage itself showed any sign of give. The test was stopped at a tensile force of 14 kN!

Testing the tensile strength of the linkage prototype

We will post more images of the Linkages soon, after they have been integrated into the Helicopter Flight Simulator by our customer.

If you would like to know more about Control Loading Linkages for your application, please contact us.


Vectioneer website stats

As you can see from the Google Analytics map above, showing this month’s number of unique page visits to the Vectioneer website, we attract visitors from all over the world!

Top 5 countries are:

  1. Netherlands
  2. United States
  3. Germany
  4. UK
  5. India

The most popular pages are the ones on Flight and Driving Simulation and related to our Blender developments.

Motion Design Software

Sneak peek: our in-house developed Motion System Design Software

Vectioneer has developed a revolutionary intuitive design tool to design parallel mechanisms such as Hexapod or Crank Driven Motion Systems. The algorithms that provide the kinematic and dynamic modeling are written completely from scratch and are implemented in Python 3. The software allows to change designs very quickly and calculate system performance and component specifications on the fly. This way it is possible to show the effect of design changes in real-time.

Using this dedicated software the design process is much more efficient than using regular CAD packages to model and simulate the system in. We can provide our customers with a new motion design in mere hours, including a complete report of all the kinematic and dynamic requirements on the system components, such as maximum servo motor torques and velocities, average power consumption, worst case forces, maximum joint angles, motion enveloppe drawings, etc.

Although largely complete, the software is still under heavy development to add more features such as genetic algorithms to search for optimal mechanism solutions automatically.

For the user interface we use our favorite free software, Blender, which turned out to be perfect for the job. It provides a fast and stable platform and has an excellent interface to our own Python code. As an extra it can render amazingly realistic pictures and animations of our designs to impress our customers with.

The software is not for sale, but is used to design new custom motion systems for our customers.

Please contact us for more information.


Vectioneer in the Dutch press

Article Limburg Onderneemt June 25 2012

Vectioneer’s home town


Concept study for multiple Kinect setup

For one of its customers Vectioneer has performed a concept study for a Serious Game using multiple Kinect Sensors. With the current prototype setup it is possible to use an array of Kinect Sensors to monitor an arbitrary large playing area.
The Microsoft Kinect Sensor is a low-cost 3D imaging device, developed for the Microsoft X-Box360 game console that allows for the evlopment of controller-less games. The Kinect’s 3D images can be interpreted by a number of free and commercially available software toolkits, that provide gesture recognition and skeleton tracking for one or more players in view.

The study that Vectioneer performed was aimed at using the Kinect as an evaluation device for physical games, without having the user constantly look at a representation of him-/herself (his/her avatar). The Kinect device is therefore not being used as a controller but as a valuation or scoring tool. The players have to perform a specific task in the playing field while the Kinect is providing feedback on their performance (such as speed, accuracy, posture). The lack of a graphic user interface to the player makes the game feel much more natural and avoids that the player constantly needs to perform the mental transform that is involved by watching your own avatar on a screen. It was also investigated if the Kinect sensors can be used for object tracking in combination with skeleton tracking.

For more information, please feel free to contact us.


New office location

Vectioneer has moved into a new office building, centrally located in Maastricht, where we have plenty of room to expand our business.


Happy newyear!

Vectioneer wishes you a SPECTACULAR 2012!

Flying the Joint Strike Fighter Engineering Simulator

While I was at Lockheed Martin in Forth Worth, Texas, earlier this year I got the chance to fly the Joint Strikefighter (F35 Lightning II) Engineering Flight Simulator. Since I was part of the design team (System Engineer) for the Motion System of this unique flight simulator I know this system quite well and this was actually the second time that I got to fly it. Of course the cockpit was partly switched off for security reasons, but primary flight controls where available and kept me busy enough.

Normally, fighter simulators do not use motion systems, since the accelerations in the aircraft cannot nearly be reached by a normal hexapod motion system. The F35 however also comes in a version with short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities (STOVL), where the accelerations are much more moderate. The vertical landing part is also a very critical phase in the flight envelope, which requires the avionincs to work together with the pilot to stabilize the aircraft. To test various avionics setups in the simulator and accurately involve the pilot in this closed-loop experiment, the F35 Engineering Simulator does require a very fast motion system.

The capabilities of the motion system are substantial, especially the high roll rates of up to 40 degrees per second and the large excursions required an optimized hexapod design. Engineering such a high performance hydraulic motion system also brings particular challenges, such as the extremely high accelerations that can occur when the servovalves close suddenly. Therefore, for this system a new servovalve setup was developed to reduce the peak forces while keeping the nominal system reponse at the desired levels.

Flying this simulator can only be described as being awesome. I consider myself very lucky to have flown it a couple of times and I feel proud to have designed this angry beast of a motion system.

(Thanks to Lockheed Martin for providing this picture)